St Croix River Road Ramblings

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Thursday, May 2, 2013

16 inches of snow at Pine Island

I left Luck at 3:30 pm on Wednesday headed for Pine Island to see about Margo's beginning radiation next Monday. It was snowing a little in Luck, but nothing staying on the road.   By the time I got to Hastings MN, the ground was white, but the road OK.  After Cannon Falls to Pine Island, it was slow going with slushy and slippery roads and heavy snow.  Pulled in to our Pine Island home about 6:30 just ahead of a night of snow.

This morning, at 5:00 am, the electricity went off.  I woke immediately as I use one of those breathing machines for people who have sleep apnea--and it stopped and I had to take it off.   It was a little light out the window and I could see the snow coming down heavily--everything was dark and white.  I hunted around for a match to light a candle downstairs. Margo woke up with me stumbling around, and helped me find a couple of flashlights, and since nothing could be done about the lack of electricity, we went back to bed.

At about 6:30, I got up. The snow was still coming down, but lightly.   Outside everything was covered with a lot of snow.   Branches bent way over; some snapped off; and deep wet snow.   A challenge!

I got out the snowblower, and spent an hour slowly clearing our long driveway, and was about to take a break, when Scot came out and took over, clearing the front of the garage turn-around area and the walkway to the house.  The road was covered deeply with snow. Neighbor Chris, who works at Mayo, slowly drove his big SUV out his driveway and honked as he plowed through the deep unplowed highway headed to work.  Snow wadded up in front of him--so deep that the SUV wallowed, but chugged along.   The plow didn't come through until about 10 am.

The house is super-insulated, and although it was 32 in the morning, rising to 34 by noon, the house cooled only from 64 to 59 at 12:05 pm when the electricity came on; blinking on a minute, then off, and back on for good.

Scott took Margo in to get her preparation session for radiation in the afternoon.  They made a brace that will hold her head and arm up away from the area of radiation and gave her a simulated treatment.  She comes in, waits to be called, changes and goes in for a 10 minute session and is done.  Her first couple of weeks are at 3:00 pm each week day.  It is over on June 10th.  She is ready to get this last phase over!

We had just finished an early supper when our neighbor, Nancy called.  "My daughter is stuck in the yard--do you think you could come over and give her a push?"   So Scott and I drove over with the 91 Olds that has a trailer hitch.  I figured we might have to pull.

Sure enough, the Volkswagen car was stuck in the slushy plowed yard -- daughter had driven up close to the house to give her mom a short walk.  The front drive wheels were spinning in little icy ruts.  Pushing didn't help.  We hooked the Olds with a tow strap and a long chain--the Olds also off the driveway in a questionably muddy area.  The Volkswagen had to be pulled backwards with the strap wrapped around the rear axle.   Several "pops" where the Olds gave a little jerk that stretched and popped the VW out of its hole worked.  Then just barely getting the Olds through the next mud hole, I managed to get the VW turned around --with a couple of pushes and made a run through the mud puddle successfully but getting stuck again just before the gravel.  Another set of "pops" and it was on the gravel and after an hour of work everyone was free again!  Quite lucky we didn't bury the Olds too!

We measured the snow on top of the camper and got 16 inches.  Officially around the area was about 13-15 inches, lots of powerlines down because of trees falling on them, and most places closed for the morning.  By evening the trees had lost all their snow; the roads were bare, and the yard starting to settle a little.   Wet, sloppy at the bottom and still a foot of snow left.  

Saw the first rose breasted grosbeak at the feeder today.  The birds were thick around the feeder and the areas we cleared with the snow blower.  Probably a shock to them too!